Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana


Franco Fontana was born in Modena in 1933. Since the 1960s, he has been one of the great masters of colour photography. His early studies on colour, space, form and light were presented in his first solo exhibition in Turin, at the Società Fotografica Subalpina in 1965, and in Modena in 1968.

He began his aesthetic investigation in 1961; in 1963, he exhibited at the Third International Biennal of Colour in Wien. Between the 1960s and the 1970s he published numerous books and had many solo and group exhibitions throughout Italy and Europe.

His most famous series Landscapes appeared for the first time in1970, in the solo exhibition at Palace of the Diamonds of Ferrara, showing a marvellous visual synthesis between chromatic perception and photographic ability to disclose nature?s hidden geometry. In his photographs Fontana isolates essential elements of abstraction from a sequence of forms, shapes and colours: for his pictorial sensibility he has been measured up to eminent painters such as Tobey, Rothko, Poliakoff?

In 1979 a trip in the United States forced him to confront with new urban spaces that deeply differed from the environment he had until then experienced. What he found was a surprising landscape, seemingly chaotic and disharmonic yet bursting with visual stimuli from which he could masterly isolate the most significant elements. Chromatic themes and geometrical forms still prevail in this series, titled Urban Landscape, as the works rarely portray a human figure. It?s only later on , with the series Presenza Assenza (end of 1979/1980) that human shapes appeared, in the form of ethereal and disquieting shadows, playing with architectural elements and overturning perspectives.

More eloquent then a tangible physical presence, these shadows symbolize the unconscious and thus emphasize the allusion to Italian metaphysical paintings (De Chirico, Savinio?). In fact, in his exploration of American cities, Fontana has often portrayed individuals with their own shadows, thus suggesting one again, through different representations, the unfathomable mystery of human nature. At the same time, his work Sorpresi nella luce Americana, 2001 pays homage to the vivid atmosphere of Edward Hoppers?s paintings and to the solitude of the alienated and humble protagonists of urban life. In 1981 he held different workshops in Arles and Venice and published a black and white work for the volume Contact, printed by Lustrum Press (New York). In 1985, at the University of Turin, Fontana held a number of workshops that were later on collected in the book La scrittura fotografica by Liborio Termine. In 1986, he started the successful collaboration with Alexander Liberman for Vogue Usa and Vogue France and also signed the promotional campaign for Volkwagen, Volvo, Ferrari, Grundig, Kodak etc. He subsequently signed several artistic calendars and other numerous advertising campaigns, including works for the fashion industry (Satoh, Versace, Hermes, etc.)

In 1989, he began to collaborate with the magazine ?Il Venerdi?, weekly insert of the Italian newspaper ?La Repubblica?, and in the same year, he was awarded the Premio della Cultura Presidenza dei Ministri, in Rome. In 1995, he participated in the Venice Biennale with the exhibit Un secolo di ritratto fotografico in Italia 1895-1995. In 2001, he was listed in the Enciclopedia Britannica and represented Italy, together with De Chirico, Schifano and Ceroli, at the First Biennial at The Museo de Arte de Buenos Aires.

Since 2000, Fontana has been carrying out a study on the microcosm of signs and fragments on urban street paving (Asfalti).


BIBLIOGRAPHY  (Selection) 

1978    -SKYLINE - Ed. Contrejour, Paris

1983    -FRANCO FONTANA-FULLCOLOR - Ed. Contrejour, Paris

1984    -FRANCO FONTANA - Ed. Nippon Geijutsu, Tokyo

1987    -FRANCO FONTANA- FOTOGRAFIE 1965-1987 - Ed. Allemandi, Torino

1990    -KALEIDOSCOPE - Ed.Art&, Udine

1994    -LANDSCAPE MOMENTS - Ed. Rebecchi, Modena

2001    -FRANCO FONTANA FOTOGRAFIE 1960-2000 - Ed. GAM,Torino

2001    -SORPRESI NELLA LUCE AMERICANA - Ed. Federico Motta, Milano

2003    -PAESAGGI: FRANCO FONTANA/MARIO GIACOMELLI - Ed. Gribaudo,               Savigliano

2003    -FRANCO FONTANA ? Ed. Federico Motta, Milano

2005    ?FRANCO FONTANA ? RETROSPETTIVA ? Ed. Logos, Modena 2005

2005    ??6 X TORINO? ? Ed. GAM , Torino 2005



2010    -Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome in focus Galerie, Cologne

2009    -Galerie Stephen Hoffman, Munich

           -Polaroids - Galleria Cà di Frà, Milan

2008    -presenze assenze - Galleria Melesi, Lecco

2007    -Paesaggi urbani e naturali - Leggermente Fuori Fuoco, Salerno                   Galleria Cà di Frà, Milan

           -Asfaltieasfalti - Galleria Arte e Arte, Bologne

2006    -Boxart Gallery, Verona                                                                                                                                   

          -Museo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires

          -Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto

          -Galleria Oredaria Arti Contemporanee, Rome

          -Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 20 photographs from the                Cotroneo Collection, Paris

2005    -Spazio Private Bank Ersel  /  Photo&Contemporary, Turin

           -Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris

           -Artef Galerie, Zurich

           -Magazzini del Sale, Venice

2004    -Palazzo Reale, Milan

           -Focus Gallery, London

2003    -Route 66, Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia, Turin

           -Espace Edward Steichen, Luxembourg

2002    -Route 66, Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia

           -Galleria Sozzani, Milan

           -Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

           -Biennale Fotografia Internazionale, Brescia

2001    -Focus Gallery, London

           -illa Remmert / Modern Art Gallery of Turin

           -Castello Aragonese, Ischia

2000    -Centro Internazionale Scavi Scaligeri, Verona

1999    -Photo&Contemporary, Turin

           -Istituto di Cultura Italiana, San Francisco

1998    -Past Rays Gallery, Yokohama

1997    -Polaroids, Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris

           -Galerie zur Stockeregg, Zurich

1995    -Palazzo Ducale, Mantova

           -Photology Gallery, Milan

           -American House, Frankfurt

1994    -Castello Visconteo, Pavia

           -Eslite Gallery, Taipei

1993    -Galeria Railowsky, Valencia

           -Tour des Lépreux, Aosta

1991    -Espace Photographique, Paris

           -Gallery Diaframma, Milan

1990    -Photography Museum, Helsinki

           -Low Block City Hall, Hong Kong

           -Centro di Cultura Italiana, Stockholm

           -Kodak Photo Salon, Tokyo

1989    -Cento volte America, Palazzo San Giorgio, Genoa

1988    -Centrum voor Fotografie, Rotterdam

1987    -Fotoskema Gallery, Praha

           -Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto

1986    -Houston Foto Festival, Houston

1985    -Galeria Foco 84, Madrid

           -Akademie der Kunste, Berlin

           -Musée Reattu, Arles

1984    -Musèe Niépce, Chalon sur Saône

           -Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas

           -Maison de la Culture, Reims

1983    -Photographer?s Gallery, London

           -Canon Salon, Tokyo

           -Galerie Viviane Esders, Paris

           -Puskin Museum, Moscow

1982    -Camera Obscura, Stockholm

           -Photo Art, Basel

1981    -After Image Gallery, Dallas

           -CCD Galerie, Dusseldorf

1980    -Focus Gallery, San Francisco

           -Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los Angeles

           -FNAC, Paris

           -Centre Internacional de la Fotografia, Barcelona



 2011    -Polaroid [Im]Possible - WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie,                        Vienne

2010    -Arte Svelata - Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia

           -Fernweh... - Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

           -tra pittura e fotografia - sezione contemporanea dal 1960 al                       2000 - Museo Ken Damy, Brescia

           -PASSAGGI, FIGURE E PAESAGGI - Forma - Centro Internazionale di               Fotografia, Milan

2009    -Highlights - Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg

           -Fotografia Astratta - Museo Fotografia Contemporanea, Cinisello                 Balsamo, MI

           -Les nuages? là-bas? les merveilleux nuages - Musée Malraux,                   Le Havre

           -Incontri d'Aria - Galleria Oredaria Arti Contemporanee, Rome

           -TERRITORIO ITALIANO - Forma - Centro Internazionale di                           Fotografia, Milan

2008    -The polaroid - Galleria Cà di Frà, Milan

           -L´enigma del vero Percorsi del realismo in Italia 1870 - 1980                      - Galleria Civica - Palazzo Loffredo, Potenza

           -"Spazio Bianco (White Space)" - Fotografia Italiana - Galleria                         Nicoletta Rusconi, Milan 

2007    -LA CALLE en fotografías: La vida misma - Museo Nacional de Bellas             Artes - MNBA, Buenos Aires

2006    -Colleziona - Forma - Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan       

           -Suoni e Visioni - Villa Croce Museo d´Arte Contemporanea, Genes

           -A Private History - Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

           -Roma 2006 - Dieci artisti della galleria Fotografia Italiana - Galleria             Nicoletta Rusconi, Milan 

            -The Sun, the Moon and the Theory of Opposites - M'Ars Gallery,                   Moscou

            -My Collection - Museo Ken Damy, Brescia

2005    -Invito al Collezionismo - Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan

           -6 per Torino - Galleria Civica d´Arte Moderna e Contemporanea -                 GAM, Turin

2002    -Camera con Vista - - Cesac - Centro Sperimentale per le Arti                       Contemporanee, Caraglio (closed)

2001    -Nel segno del paesaggio - Galleria Melesi, Lecco

           -Landscapes / Paesaggi - - Cesac - Centro Sperimentale per le Arti               Contemporanee, Caraglio (closed)

           -fotos, bilder und Objekte - - Galerie Doris Wullkopf, Lindau (closed)

1996    -L´erba del Vicino - Galleria Melesi, Lecco

1995    -46th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale / Biennale di                     Venezia - La Biennale di Venezia, Venise

1993    -Dipinto di Blu - Galleria Melesi, Lecco

           -Collettiva in Bianco e Nero - Galleria Melesi, Lecco

1987    -Hommage a Ferrari - Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain,                   Paris

1978    -Franco Fontana & Pedro Fondevila - Spectrum Sotos, Zaragoza  

           -La Biennale di Venezia 1978. From Nature to Art, from Art to                       Nature - La Biennale di Venezia, Venise

1976    -Three Italian Photographers - Optica - centre for contemporary art, Montreal, QC


public collections

COLLECTIONS  (Selection)

-International Museum of Photography, Rochester, USA

-Museum of Modern Art, New York

-Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

-Art Institute, Chicago

-Museum of Fine Art, Houston

-Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

-Ludwig Museum, Colonia

-Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

-Australian National Gallery, Melbourne

-Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

-Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo

-Israel Museum, Gerusalemmme

-Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris

-FNAC, Paris

-Kunsthaus Museum, Zurich

-Victoria & Albert Museum, London

-UBS collection, Zurich

-Deutsche Bank collection, London

-Unicredit Bank, Milano


Mathieu Bernard-Reymond / Gilles Desrozier / Franco Fontana